AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Liparis parva Ridl., J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 21: 462 (1885).
Homotypic Synonyms:
Leptorkis parva (Ridl.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 671 (1891).
Description:
Very small epiphytic plant on a very short rhizome, roots villous, overall 2.5 – 3.9 cm high without the inflorescence. Pseudobulbs adjoining, at first elongate then globular when mature, very pale green, with a few membranous sheaths around the base, a pair of leaves at the apex. Leaves opposite, lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate, c. 3 × 1 cm acuminate, on a short 5 – 8 mm petiole. Inflorescence erect, up to 8 cm long, laxly 6 – 12-flowered. Peduncle with one or two c. 6 × 1.5 mm spreading peduncle sheaths. Rachis slightly angular, c. 3 cm long. Floral bracts cordate, lanceolate to ovate apiculate, 3.3 – 6.0 × 1.4 – 2 mm. Flowers medium size, erectly spreading, c. 12 × 7 mm, petals and sepals greenish yellow, the lip olive green, column green becoming white towards the apex, anther yellowish green, all parts becoming orange yellow on ageing with the lip orange. Pedicel and ovary at first straight then acutely curved upwards towards the column, a little angular, 5.5 – 9.1 × 0.5 – 0.8 mm. Dorsal sepal narrowly lanceolate, margins incurved, 5.2 – 6.8 × 0.8 – 1.2 mm. Lateral sepals lanceolate, falcate, obtuse, deflexed, 3.6 – 5.5 × 2 – 3.1 mm. Petals spreading, linear, 5.9 – 7.1 × 0.3 – 0.5 mm. Lip narrowly auriculate at the base, then ovate to suborbicular, obtuse a little indented at the anterior margin, with a longitudinal raised disk (not obvious in dried specimens) ending in an obtuse sub-rectangular callus at the base, 4.1 – 5.1 × 3 – 3.6 mm. Column thick, semiterete, wings broad, angular and strongly incurved, c. 4 × 1 mm. Anther with a short sharp apicule at the front, c. 1 × 0.8 mm. Pollinia ovate, c. 0.3 mm diam.
Etymology:
Refers to the small size of the plant.
Recognition:
Liparis parva is a very small two-leaved plant with relatively large flowers, orbicular pseudobulbs, long and narrow leaves, a loosely flowered and zig-zag inflorescence, and flowers with a lip with a large sub-rectangular callus at the base, wide and angular, incurved column wings, a pedicellate ovary and column at an acute angle.
The species has some similarities with Liparis cladophyllax and L. dryadum but neither have the distinct globular pseudobulbs and have a column that is indistinctly winged vs distinctly angular, and a lip almost half the size. Liparis parva bears some similarity to L. cespitosa but that species has a single leaf and flowers half the size.
Habitat:
In wet Eastern and highland evergreen forests, in deep shade, on moss and lichen-covered trees. Altitude: 1100 – 1500 m.
Phenology:
Flowering in February.
Cultivation:
As given for the genus.
Distribution:
Endemic to Madagascar
References:
Flora of Madagascar: vascular plants: 49th family, Orchids / by H. Perrier de La Bathie; published under the auspices of the government of Madagascar and under the direction of H. Humbert; English revision and translation by Steven D. Beckman; A Monograph of the Genus Liparis. HN Ridley - ‎1886; Malaxideae (Orchidaceae) in Madagascar, the Mascarenes, Seychelles and Comoro Islands Kew Bulletin volume 75, Article number: 1 (2020)
Images:
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